The HTOS choir traveled to Holy Trinity Cathedral, Toronto, on the weekend of April 21-22, 2018, at the invitation of the Cathedral’s rector, Mitred Archpriest Vladimir Malchenko, and with the blessing of Archimandrite Luke, Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary.
Upon their arrival in Toronto, the choir was treated to a wonderful meal prepared by the parish sisterhood prior to singing at the All-Night Vigil.
The following morning the Seminary choir, directed by Deacon Nicholas Kotar, also Seminary lecturer in church music, sang the responses at the Divine Liturgy as well as for the molebien to the Holy Myrrhbearers that followed. The choir for this road trip also included Priest Ephraim Willmarth, Assistant Dean, Registrar, and Director of Admissions, 4th year students, Reader Seth Davidenko (a native son of the parish), Reader George Luimes, and 2nd year student James Racz, the Seminary photographer, also took photos parish visit. Deacon Michael Pavuk, Director of Development, accompanied the choir and served during the divine services together with the cathedral clergy: Mitred Archpriest Vladimir Malchenko, Priest Viatcheslav Davidenko and Protodeacon Alexander Morin. Deacon Boris Bakhvalov, previously of Holy Trinity Cathedral, and now visiting from St Elizabeth’s Convent in Minsk, also served during the liturgical services.
During the festive meal prepared by the parish sisterhood, Fr Vladimir spoke favorably about the Seminary. Then he introduced Deacon Michael, who thanked Fr Vladimir, Fr Viatcheslav, and the faithful for entrusting their native son, Reader and 4th year seminarian Seth Davidenko to the care of Holy Trinity Seminary and Monastery for the last four years. In only six weeks, he and Reader George Luimes, a fellow Canadian, will, God-willing, become proud alumni of HTOS, Class of 2018.
The remainder of the Deacon Michael’s presentation focused on the recently announced Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree approved by the New York State Board of Regents, which will commence in Fall 2018. A new Seminary fundraiser has set a goal of $50,000 to subsidize five full tuition and books graduate scholarships $10K each for initial class of M.Div. students in September. An extraordinarily generous Seminary benefactor will, once again, match that $50,000 sum dollar for dollar and, therefore, double to 10 the number of M.Div. scholarships available in Fall 2018. The matching funds will be named for Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, while “naming rights” for the first 5 scholarships funded by other donors would be negotiable. All donations, large and small, will help the Seminary to achieve this new and exciting goal.
After the presentations, the Seminary choir provided a concert in the church center, including Paschal and other liturgical music and what seems to have become the most popular new Russian folksong: “Kon.”
We hope the faithful of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, the largest parish in ROCOR, enjoyed the visit and were spiritually uplifted as much as the seminarians and Seminary administrators who travelled to Toronto, north of the border.